You are Beautiful and I Love You

My sister died today. Though I knew deep down that she would die young, I am stunned. When the phone call came today, I knew it was bad news before I picked it up.

It’s not like she was sick, per se, I mean she was sick, but not in the conventional sense. When I say I wasn’t surprised, I meant, she’d been dying for years. She was in a lot of pain for a long time, and actually had reasons for the pain. But, drug addiction is cancer of the soul – and Goddamn – just God-Fucking-Damn-It, all you can fucking do is helplessly wait for death to come. It’s like – ok, this-is-what-happens-which-we-knew-was-going-to-happen-and-now-it-has-happened.

So this sucks.

For most of our lives, our relationship was strained. But, we had some amazing times, too. We drove across the country together in her cream-colored 65 Mustang when I was 18 years-old. It was my first time to Arizona and I stayed in Flagstaff on that trip! We were amazed by the pine trees and how fresh the air was. And the red rocks in Sedona were like nothing we’d ever seen! I’m glad she saw them.

heather circa 1989
Heather, 21 years old. Just before our drive to California – circa 1989

When we returned to New Jersey, our relationship fell apart. For 24 years we couldn’t get our shit together to just be sisters and love one another.

Until this last year.

I am grateful that for the last nine months, she and I were communicating in a good way. I reached out to her last winter while I was going through a hard time, and, she was so fucking clear. She helped me walk through the dark. She was fierce. She told me I was good, and generous, and compassionate, and I decided to fucking believe her.

We made a pact. For three months we tried an experiment. We decided to write to each other every day, “You are beautiful, and I love you” – just to get used to it, ya know, just to get used to how it feels to be loved. And we promised each other that we would not put up with not being cared about and loved by the people in our lives – especially in our romantic relationships.

And it really helped. A lot. It meant a lot. Coming from her from my fractured family, it meant a lot.

Anyway, after three months, we just kept writing to each other.

Love is good. Why stop?

Born on a Thursday #60 ~ Taking the Plunge

High Mesa Yoga at Pine Cliff

Currently, I teach on Thursday mornings at Truly Fit in Flagstaff, and I am loving it.

snowbowl sunset (c) 2014 Holly TroyAfter much thought, discussion, and encouragement from friends, I’m taking the plunge and expanding my classes. Autumn is coming and many of us (myself included) tend to get back to work (or start working more), go back to school and/or bring our children to and from school, and get busy preparing for fall and winter holidays. As we settle into our new schedules we may find ourselves needing to make time to decompress – that’s where yoga comes in.

I have access to a great space just waiting to be utilized. Now is the time to get things rolling!

I love Flagstaff and wanted a way to honor where I live, so I am calling the space High Mesa Yoga.

Beginning on August 26th (the day after the New Moon in Virgo), classes will begin.

Sunset on the Mesa (c) Holly TroyHigh Mesa Yoga @ Pine Cliff
call or email for directions:
928-380-3019 or sacredfolly@gmail.com
Cost per class: $8.00

Tuesdays (beginning August 26th)
5:15 to 6:30 pm High Mesa Hatha
7:00 to 8:15 pm Peak Tranquility

Thursdays (beginning August 28th)
5:30 to 6:45 pm High Mesa Hatha
7:00 to 8:15 pm Peak Tranquility

Class description

In both classes, students will build flexibility, agility, and strength while increasing mental, physical, and emotional peacefulness. 

High Mesa Hatha: Gentle yet challenging yoga based on the classical styles of Sivananda, Kripalu and Jivamukti yoga. Breathwork (pranayama), vinyasa (flow), asana (postures), meditation and relaxation are key. Release stress and build calm energy.

Peak Tranquility: Wind down with yoga nidra (“yogic sleep” or conscious deep sleep), guided imagery, and intuitive asana to deepen your sense of body/mind awareness and relaxation. Prepare to be refreshed.

What to expect

I am an experienced yoga instructor who offers:
– a safe, non-competitive, supportive, and fun atmosphere;
– small classes (10 to 12 students);
– individual attention and adaptation to personal needs;
– focus on the breath, movement originating from the core, visualization meditation, relaxation; and,
– an open space for suggestions and Q and A.

I have a few extra yoga mats, some blocks and a couple of blankets. Students please bring your own mats and props if possible.

The room is a lovely open space with great floors. A blank canvas really! And, of course, there is access to a bathroom. I will try to post pictures soon. In the meantime, below is a video of me from last winter’s Writing the Energetic Body workshop doing Half Spinal Twist in the newly finished room. Very spare – just me, a mat, and a scarf.

Om shanti.

Thanks for reading!

Have a fantastic week.

Holly

Born on a Thursday #59 – Making Maps as We Go

Happy summer everyone!! I hope you are all having adventures and enjoying each day as much as possible. 

I took some time off from teaching yoga for a bit, sometimes I need the space and time to digest what i have learned and, also, to decide what I am going to do next. I do love teaching, and for me, part of it is following the ebb and flow of my own ability for give and take, for growth, and for creativity. I really get into it.

I’ve recently begun teaching at Truly Fit, and I have to come up with a teacher bio. Searching my computer to piece together a little something, I came across this essay about yoga and this blog. I think I was going to post it on my “bio” or “about” page. I’m not sure when I wrote it, but I never posted it (it’s a little ambivalent). However, in keeping with social media’s “throw back Thursday” – I am posting it today. 

Here goes . . . 

For the longest time I’ve had my Yoga Bio up on this page – and for the longest time I feel like it doesn’t say who I am. Really, how could it?

Yeah, I teach yoga.  It’s totally hip.

Nowadays, being a yoga teacher could mean I am a bored housewife who decided what fun it would be to stay in shape while I teach my other bored housewife friends yoga. We could dish about the latest articles and outfits in Yoga Journal over chai lattes after class.

Or maybe I am a middle-aged divorcee who started taking yoga to keep myself grounded after my horrible break-up.

Maybe I am a tree-hugging granola-type who likes to spend time all day spacing out.

Maybe I like to wear spandex.

IMG_0823Yoga is hip. Maybe that’s good, maybe it isn’t. Some people will try yoga. Cool.

I really can’t stand yoga clichés.

The truth of the matter is, I do yoga because it feels good. I like being around other people who are feeling good, too.

When I trained to be a yoga teacher back in 1996, most people thought I was crazy. Live on an ashram for a month? Is a yoga farm like that Spinal Tap song Sex Farm? Chant? Meditate? What’s a sutra? Why do you wanna be a freak and bend like a pretzel?

Sivananda - 12 Basic Asanas
Sivananda – 12 Basic Asanas

Yoga training was hardcore. One week into it, even I feared (for a moment) I was being sucked into a cult. But, I stuck with it. I weakly held on to the fact in the back of my mind that I was in a band, and without a lead singer they couldn’t play gigs, so one of my band mates for certain would rescue me if I needed it. Mostly, though, I let go and allowed myself to be and to learn and to change.

I remember the night before yoga teacher graduation. I was in a group hug with four of my classmates. We declared that our time on the ashram was “the eternity that never was”.  That cosmic blip in the space of my life experience softened me (and still continues to soften me).

Since then, yoga has become very popular in the U.S.—and far more westernized than how I learned it at Sivananda. But then again, perhaps the whole world is a bit more westernized.

My life has shifted since I began practicing yoga, too. Sometimes I am not as steady with my practice as I’d like to be, but I do the best I can. Perhaps yoga helps me to settle my experiences in my body and consciousness.

My yoga bio is only a small part of the story. I put it on the site because I teach yoga.

But what is Sacred Folly blog about?

It’s about what I’m into—and I’m into a lot of things. I’ll post stuff about (and not limited to): yoga, spirituality, music (my own and other musicians), visual art (painting, photography, etching, artists), crafts, writing (essays, poetry, short-fiction, book reviews, other writers) sub-culture, counter-culture, perma-culture, DIY-culture, bicycling, Beauty (with a capital B), nutrition, medicinal herbs, magic, astrology, tarot, alternative healing, sustainability, mother earth, shards of memory, and dreams—stuff that makes me marvel at being alive.

Maybe I made this site to help myself navigate through what it means to be human.

Om shanti, shanti om.

Thanks for reading!

Born on a Thursday #58 – Fire, Rain, Bicycles

Fire.
So much smoke.
Rain.
Finally.

I almost cried when we went back for one more thing. Mountainaire was eerily still with low-lying smoke. I said, “It is strangely beautiful.” Tom replied, “It would be beautiful if it weren’t so devastating.”

I am tired today.

My friend Anthony says, “This is a good song for today.” I agree, so I am sharing it.

Bjork is beautiful.

Plumes of smoke from the Slide Fire viewed from Bell Rock in Sedona. May 26, 2014.
Plumes of smoke from the Slide Fire viewed from Bell Rock in Sedona. May 26, 2014.

Summer energy is here. Lately I am a bit sporadic with Born on a Thursday posts. I am expecting that trend may continue into autumn. I have been out, enjoying the days, riding, riding, and more riding! I have been learning so much about mountain biking these last couple of months – it’s exhilarating!

I choose to be active right now and explore where my body will take me. Latest and upcoming explorations: cycling, beauty, love, yoga, writing, painting, cooking, friends, music.

Life is good!

Born on a Thursday #57 – I Am Happy

After an introspective year, and an especially introspective winter looking at my relationships and at my relationship with Flagstaff and with nature, I have come to the conclusion that I am happy. I made the conscious decision to let go of old responses and compromises and am experiencing presence and trust and love.

I appreciate my life and those who are in it.

I am also riding bicycles! Oh, riding is so much fun!

meadowlands (c) 2009 Holly TroyLast night I had a dream that I was visiting my mother and step-father. It was somewhere in New Jersey – where I grew up but not where I grew up. I was afraid to visit because I knew the house they lived in was haunted. When I arrived, I walked up a pathway through a glorious garden. When I opened the front door, I was greeted by a black cat, which I had to pass in order to step into the house. In my dream I thought, “This is an omen.”

I was afraid of the ghosts in the house, but I managed to train one of them. I told my parents the house was haunted, and proved it by telling Morris, the ghost I trained, to open and close the door, which he did. My parents told me I should stay even though passing through weehawken (c) Holly Troy 2009the place was haunted. I said, “These ghosts are yours, not mine.” I had to leave.

I left the house and walked out beyond their garden and into the vast wasteland of highways and progress. New York City no longer interested me, and the roads were littered with beer cans and road kill. Plastic bags and papers blew around in the breeze.

sunset (c) Holly Troy 2013When I awoke, I realized I let go of the ghosts. I was in a place where I felt absolutely safe, happy, and loved, and it was a place I chose to be. Outside the sun was rising and the air was fresh. Pine. Big blue sky. The entire day ahead of me, and all I had to do was notice.

All I have to do is notice.

Thanks for reading! Have a great week.

 

 

 

Born on a Thursday #56 – Rebirth, Bike Love, and Playing the Fool

Thanks to all who voted! The Fort Tuthill bike park won the $30,000 grant! Flagstaff just keeps getting more amazing for cycling.

Spring is blowing in fresh air here in the mountains. And with it, new thoughts, new feelings, new hopes. Playing the Fool (see April’s challenge) has been difficult, but somewhere in this last month, there’s been a shift. I’m not exactly sure when I became so serious – it crept up on me – I have had to shake the seriousness off my back.

pines! (C) 2014 Holly TroyThe children I live with are obsessed with the soundtrack to the Disney movie Frozen, which means they play it repeatedly upon waking every morning. There is one song where the chorus is “Let it go, let it go . . . ” with predictable ascending key changes. Of course, I am singing the songs along with the household now, and when Let it Go comes on, there is much gesturing, dancing and agreement from the adults (Martine and me). Honestly, so much shit has been happening that to be cheesy for five minutes is a great way to wake up – and the kids love it.

Letting go has been the theme of the winter. In fact, it’s just been a good way to be. If we can’t move forward with love, if we are taking actions out of fear or low self-esteem or anger, then it is time to just stop. I feel fortunate that I had the ability to slow down and recalibrate, shift direction, and relate to the natural world.

This morning I am sitting outside on a patio, the temperature is 66 degrees and it’s breezy.  I can hear ravens clucking and cawing, the higher music of smaller birds rounding out the concert of sound in this back yard. The sun is shining and the wind in the pines sounds like ocean waves crashing on the surf.

There is no pressure to do anything today. The plan for the day is to enjoy good company, bicycle into town entirely on 13 miles of back trails, go grocery shopping, ride back and make dinner. Enjoy the meal with friends.

It’s a perfect day.

Born on a Thursday #55 – More Bike Love in Flagstaff, AZ

It’s been a long day and I just got back from meeting Justice of the Peace Howard Grodman who is running for re-election in Flagstaff (I really liked him and was very impressed – he started a Mental Health Specialty Court! so cool! – I will write about what I learned in the next day or so . . .)

Beautiful Flagtsaff (c) 2014 Holly TroyMeanwhile, I am reposting this message from the Flagstaff Biking Organization. As many of you know I am a huge cycling fan. I don’t own a car and I bicycle to get just about everywhere—to work, to get groceries, to visit friends—and of course, for fun. Flagstaff Biking Organization has been planning a bike park that will be super cool, and they have a chance at winning a $30,000 Grant.

Please vote for the Fort Tuthill Bike Park. You don’t have to live in Flagstaff, heck, you don’t have to live in the United States. You just need an email. Feel free to let me know that you voted in the comments.

* * * * *

Vote NOW for the Ft. Tuthill Bike Park to win a $30,000 Grant!!

April 7th, 2014

WE NEED YOU TO VOTE NOW!

Share this link with everyone you’ve ever met, have your mom’s Facebook friends vote, bug random strangers on the street to vote on their smart phones, pester your coworkers, whoever you can think of! It only takes a minute, doesn’t cost a thing, and everyone will benefit from this free-to-the-public facility!

Be sure to reply to the confirmation email you’ll be sent or your vote won’t count! (Check your “Junk” folder if you don’t see the confirmation email!)

If you have not received a confirmation email after you voted for the Ft. Tuthill Bike Park, it is probably because of your email address.

YOUR VOTE HAS NOT BEEN COUNTED IF YOU DO NOT CLICK ON A CONFIRMATION EMAIL LINK!!

Some .edu, .gov, .net and .org addresses seem to not work with the tool that Bell Sports is using for this voting.

If this is the case, vote from a @gmail.com or @yahoo.com or similar address: either one you already have, or make one at Google.com.

Keep passing the word! Let’s win this grant!

OR GO TO BELLHELMETS.COM/BELLBUILT TO VOTE!

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

ABOUT OUR TRAIL PROJECT

Fort Tuthill Bike Park will be a fully-featured mountain bike skills park at the Fort Tuthill County Park in Flagstaff. The proposed skills park will contain a wide array of progressive features to appeal to all levels of bike riders. The park will be free, open to the public, and available for competitive events and skills clinics. We are hoping to use the IMBA Bell Built Grant to implement the intermediate, and potentially beginner and flow trail features. This grant would be used to build the intermediate, and potentially also the beginner, flow trails. For details on the entire Ft. Tuthill Bike Park, click here.

WEST COAST VOTING IS LIVE UNTIL APRIL 20!

HOW THE VOTING WORKS

Twelve trailbuilding projects across the 50 states have been selected as the finalists to receive a portion of the $100,000 Bell Built grant. The projects have been distributed across 3 distinct regions in the US: West, Central, and East. Beginning April 7, voting for each region will be live for a 2-week window, with winners announced the day after the voting period ends. On May 19, all three winners will be officially announced!

VOTE: April 7-20

WINNER: April 21

OR GO TO BELLHELMETS.COM/BELLBUILT TO VOTE!

Born on a Thursday #54 – Bicycles, the Beatles, Books, and Underwear

I’m attempting April’s A-to-Z Challenge.

pine and spring snow (c) 2014 Holly Troy
Spring Snow

I was supposed to write something about a word or a phrase that began with the letter “B” yesterday. I didn’t do it. I was tired. I was feeling rebellious, like I needed something to say “no” to. I thought, Man, this last month has been exhausting. You walked through grief, and at the same time, ran an online writing course. Write about B on your blog? You need a break. You just walked three miles in the snow on your way home from work. You still have MFA research to do. A bath would be nice. By 8pm I was in bed.

The Beatles – Sometimes I listen to the Beatles and I wonder what is the point of any other music? They were/are startling good. The year I was born was the year the Beatles broke up.
John-Boy Walton. How strange to call your kid “John Boy”. Boy. Boys. I had a crush on John-Boy when he (er, the actor Richard Thomas), played the protagonist in the movie version of All Quiet on the Western Front. I read the book when I was eleven years-old. It made me a pacifist.
Books. When I was a kid, I read a lot of books. I learned about love and compassion from reading good literature. Books I want to re-read that I read when I was a child: The Call of the Wild, Moby Dick, The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island, The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Alice in Wonderland, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Bicycles. Man, how could I forget about bicycles? Why is this not the first word on the list? I love my bike! My bike’s name even starts with B! It’s a Breezer.
and, finally,
a phrase sent to my by my friend Laurent, “Be Yourself, not an image you pulled in, or a projection of what you think you should be.”

I’m supposed to be on “C” today. I doubt I’ll be getting to it.

Below, a little Amanda Palmer for your listening and viewing pleasure. She is in her underwear a lot. I need my own apartment so I can be in my underwear a lot.

Thanks for reading,

Holly

Born on a Thursday #53 ~ love sickness, love joy

While walking the dog, I am thinking about all the things I am never going to do again. Every evening, as the the clouds are turning orange, tears:  This is so beautiful and I’m not ever going to watch a sunset with J— again. I’m never going to wake up in the wilderness as the sun is rising and say “good morning”. We will never lie on our backs and look at stars and the moon. No more sweet silence. We will never go as far out as possible together and see things most people won’t. 

pine glow (c) 2014 Holly TroyI do not, cannot stop myself. Grief. My body trembles for weeks. My hands shake and I cannot eat without effort. Who am I? I have to keep walking, that is all I know.

One day I look up and the sky is deep cornflower blue, chalky, like a fresco, and to the west it is pink and orange. The grasses on the mesa, slowly, almost timelessly shifting from gold-pink to pale luminescent violet, finally bleaching out to soft blue-white and then, dark. The air is cool and clean, so pure and fresh that to breathe is soothing. I’m OK. I love this. I love my life this minute. While I’d like to be sharing this moment marveling at the beauty of the world—this is pretty damn good. This is pretty damn good. 

So much beauty in this world. Even in the sadness.